A lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that calls for the tenant to pay the landlord monthly for the right to live in a property. This agreement includes terms and conditions for payments, termination date and obligations and has to be terminated before a landlord can begin an eviction lawsuit.
Evictions can be time-consuming and frustrating, which is why you need to understand everything involved in the eviction process, to make the process less complicated. Eviction processes differ from state to state or country to country. The eviction process in California, for example, is directed by the Superior Court of the State of California. It comes with its own set of rules. Visit https://expressevictions.com/eviction-process/ to get expert advice on the eviction process.
However, there is a general overview of what a lease agreement and an eviction process entail, and this article seeks to address that.
It Starts with a Paper Trail
The lease agreement should be in writing and must have correct and consistent information between both parties. Every clause of the lease and all vital information discussed during this period must be in writing, and if the conversation was made over the phone, you need to take notes in case a misunderstanding arises. Phone calls leave no trail, neither are screenshots or email attachments very reliable but can be used as additional evidence or back-up if the parties go to court over an eviction.
Keep records of damages in the house or rental unit before signing the lease and whether they were fixed or not. Record every form of payment all along, take pictures of the state of the house before the lease and at the point of eviction.
Everyone who signs the lease should have hard copies of every document and know all decisions made. These precautions will save either party or both from problems while the lease agreement is still active, when there’s a change of hands in the management, or during the eviction process.
What is Involved in the Eviction Process?
- Making the Decision
The first step is deciding to evict a tenant, which could stem from the following reasons:
- Failure to pay the rent at the specified time
- Damage to the landlord’s property
- Failure to follow the lease’s terms and conditions
- Not leaving the property after the lease expires
- Getting Familiar with the Landlord and Tenant Act
Before you can evict a tenant, you need to know and understand state, local and federal regulations on eviction. Get familiar with the landlord and tenants laws for your state and follow the procedure required to evict a tenant to win the case properly. Experts recommend hiring a lawyer at least the first time they do an eviction to get it right the first time and learn from an expert how it’s done.
- Written Notice
Written notice has to be sent out before you can evict a tenant, and the time requirements for serving the notice also differ by state. There is a minimum time required to serve the notice before the specified date for the eviction, depending on the factors surrounding the eviction. How you serve the notice also differs by state, and this includes sending it in certified mail, taping the notice on the door or somewhere noticeable, or by hand delivery. Some states can allow you to choose the most convenient way to serve the notice or be strict on the specific medium to use.
How long you have to wait before filing the eviction depends on the notice period in by your state. Then you can go ahead and file for a court hearing at your local courthouse. You will be given a hearing date by the court, and the tenant will also be notified.
- The Hearing
If the tenant refuses to vacate, there is a court hearing. Gather your documents and take them to the hearing. They should include the lease agreement, a copy of the notice, copies of checks and unpaid bills, pictures and records of communications that may be relevant in the hearing. Then, prepare yourself beforehand, so you can present your case to the judge. At this hearing, a judge rules if the eviction will go forward or the tenant will be allowed to stay.
- Evict the Tenant
The state also determines the period of time required for the tenant to leave the property. It could be anywhere from 48 hours to 5 or 10 days, after which, if you win, sheriff’s deputies will escort the former tenant off the property..
To avoid complications during the eviction process, it’s best you follow the law carefully do not try what is called a self-help eviction by changing locks or shutting off utilities.Self-help evictions are illegal.